Monday, October 15, 2018


Zachary T. Sampson, Times staff writer

Zachary T. Sampson, Times staff writer

Zack covers crime and breaking news in the St. Petersburg office. He joined the Times in September 2014 and previously worked for the Boston Globe and the New Bedford Standard-Times in Massachusetts. He was raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Northeastern University, where he studied journalism and sociology.

Robert Baker Sr., 82, who is paralyzed below the waist, is removed from his son's home by emergency workers on Friday in the coastal township of Mexico Beach which was devastated when Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times)

Hurricane Michael: Mexico Beach locals banding together to survive

MEXICO BEACH — Robert Baker Jr. shoved his paralyzed father onto a queen-sized mattress as water rushed into his childhood home.He floated to the ceiling, with his mother and wife, until their faces were the only parts of them above the water.
Published: 10/13/18
Vehicles belonging to James and Cindy Murphy and their renter lay in a tangles mess on Thursday, the day after Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach and devastated this small costal town [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]

‘We’re broken here.’ Mexico Beach reels in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael

MEXICO BEACH — Walking around his shattered beachfront town, Mayor Al Cathey repeated the stunned refrain of many residents along the sleepy Florida coast: We didn’t know it would be this bad.On Thursday, dawn broke over total wreckage.
Published: 10/11/18
Updated: 10/12/18
Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach on Wednesday afternoon, devastating the coastal town as it lashed the Florida Panhandle. These photos were taken early Thursday morning. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]

Ground zero: See the damage Hurricane Michael inflicted on Mexico Beach

MEXICO BEACH — Fires burn with no one to put them out. Cars and trucks stacked like toys. Stairs lead to houses that no longer exist. Trees bent over, as if trying to run from something.Hurricane Michael slammed into North Florida on Wednesday...
Published: 10/11/18
As storm surge recedes, the damage Hurricane Michael inflicted on Port St. Joe Marina and the boats there bcomes apparent. The Category 4 storm was the most powerful hurricane to ever strike the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]

Hurricane Michael thrashes Florida Panhandle with historic fury

PANAMA CITY — Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm on record to reach Florida’s Panhandle, began its terrifying tear through Big Bend coastal communities shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday.First came the shrieking winds, at maximum speeds of...
Published: 10/10/18
Updated: 10/11/18
The edge of Port St. Joe before Hurricane Michael. Police making frequent passes of the small city, which sits just west of Apalachicola, straight in the storm's path. (Zack Sampson | Times)

In Port St. Joe, fear and waiting for Hurricane Michael

PORT ST. JOE — On the edge of this small city, which sits just west of Apalachicola, straight in Hurricane Michael’s path, police are making frequent passes.The storm surge here could reach 13 feet, according to forecasts.Wind is already...
Published: 10/10/18
The 11 p.m. Tuesday forecast for Hurricane Michael. [National Hurricane Center]

Hurricane Michael could strike Panhandle as a Category 4 storm

APALACHICOLA — Hurricane Michael rapidly bore down on Florida’s Panhandle coast, sending more than 100,000 people scrambling to get out of the way of the powerful storm forecast to reach Category 4 strength when it makes landfall Wednesday...
Published: 10/09/18
Updated: 10/10/18
In Apalachicola, residents wait for Hurricane Michael: ‘Until the water comes up, we’re just waiting’

In Apalachicola, residents wait for Hurricane Michael: ‘Until the water comes up, we’re just waiting’

APALACHICOLA — Inside the Apalachicola Ice Company, a bar that was once an outboard motor shop in an old Panhandle city where many buildings were something else before, there is a small, irregular mark scratched into a dark wood post along the...
Published: 10/09/18
A satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Michael churning toward the Florida Panhandle in the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 7, 2018. [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via The New York Times]

Hurricane Michael: Warning issued for Florida Panhandle, Tampa Bay under state of emergency

The outlook for Florida turned suddenly dire as Hurricane Michael formed off the coast of Cuba early Monday carrying predictions of a major Category 3 landfall in the Florida Panhandle.Standing inside the Pasco County Emergency Operations...
Published: 10/08/18
The FBI plans to serve subpoenas to the lawyer for CareerSource Tampa and CareerSource Pinellas. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

FBI takes over investigation of Tampa Bay’s CareerSource jobs centers as state audit launches

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have taken over multiple investigations into whether two Tampa Bay jobs centers overstated their success at using tax dollars to help people find work.Federal auditors also served notice to Gov. Rick...
Published: 10/05/18
Updated: 10/08/18
The credit and debit cards of more than 28,000 consumers may have been exposed in a data breach of St. Petersburg's online payment portal, Click2Gov. Anyone who believes their personal information was stolen because of the breach should contact the St. Petersburg Police Department at (727) 893-7780. The city has created a website for consumers to get updates: [Matt Rourke  |  AP]

St. Pete data breach exposes more than 28,000 credit, debit cards

ST. PETERSBURG — The credit and debit card information of more than 28,000 people was exposed because of a six-week-long data breach of the city’s website, St. Petersburg officials announced Tuesday.The city uses Click2Gov, a third-party vendor...
Published: 10/02/18